Jesus will have known that a storm was coming, and yet after the crowds were satisfied, he made the disciples get on a boat and go out on to the water, without him. He put them in the way of the storm.
Jesus and his disciples are not the first people in the Bible to encounter a storm. Remember Jonah? His storm resulted in an unexpected excursion into the belly of a huge fish. The storm that struck Jonah’s boat served an important purpose: correction. Jonah was rebelling against God, and doing what he thought was best, instead of what God had asked him to do. The storm that God allowed into his life may have been a shock to his system, but it set him back on the right path.
What was the purpose of the storm that Jesus led his disciples into? Were they being corrected too? No, this was a different situation. The disciples had obeyed Jesus, even though they didn’t always understand fully what he was asking of them. They didn’t need to be corrected, but they did need to learn and to grow.
Jesus allowed them to experience the storm – in fact he directly brought them into the path of the storm – so that he could demonstrate an important truth to them. As the Messiah walked across the surface of the water towards them, the disciples can have been in no doubt that Jesus was more powerful than the storm.
This is a truth that we all need to fully take on board. The disciples would go on to face different kinds of storms, much more terrifying than the one on the lake. They would see their Messiah taken from them by soldiers, tried and horrifically executed. They needed to learn that Jesus was stronger than any storm, and they needed to learn it fast so that they could take this knowledge with them into the trials that lay ahead.
The storm is not always something to be avoided at all costs. It can exist to correct us, and it can exist to perfect us. Either way, God is still God, even in the storm.